Core project 9: Linking soil functions with land use and biodiversity


Scientific investigators:

Dr. Marion Schrumpf

Prof. Dr. Susan Trumbore

Dr. Ingo Schöning

Huei Ying Gan

Antonios Apostolakis

Rachael Akinyede (assoc.)

Jeff Beem-Miller (assoc.)

Theresa Klötzing

Steffen Ferber

(MPI for Biogeochemistry Jena)


Within the framework of the Biodiversity Exploratories we are studying how land use and biodiversity affect the interacting carbon and nutrient cycles in soils.

We hypothesize that land use intensification reduces soil carbon and nutrient stocks in forests, while high fertilizer inputs maintain high stocks at intensively used grasslands.

As the core project ‘Soil’ we provide essential information on soil properties and ecosystem functions across all 300 Experimental Plots (EPs) of the Biodiversity Exploratories. We are significantly involved in coordinated soil sampling and synthesis activities in the Biodiversity Exploratories.

In our project we …

(1) monitor important soil properties such as soil enzyme actives in the Biodiversity Exploratories
(2) study long-term litter production at the forest EPs, investigate nutrient leaching in soils (N, P, S, K, Mg, Ca) (in situ)
(3) determine autotrophic and heterotrophic soil respiration and its seasonal variation (in situ)
(4) study the formation and turnover of mineral associated soil organic matter using a mineral bag approach (in-situ)
(5) analyze the effect of nutrient availability (N,P) on soil organic matter mineralization and the rhizosphere priming (lab incubations).

Our guiding questions are:

  • How does land use and related biodiversity shift the carbon and nutrient balance of soils? Which feedback processes exist?
  • Is short and long-term forest and grassland management reflected in soil properties and carbon turnover?
  • Which microbial groups respond strongest to the addition of easily available carbon and nutrient sources?
  • What is the role of land use and biodiversity on carbon and nutrient mineralization? How is carbon mineralization linked to nutrient mineralization? What is the fate of mineralized nutrients in soil?